Belief in God and Spiritual Entities Drop to New Lows

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The belief in five key religious entities—God, angels, heaven, hell, and the devil—has experienced a modest decline of three to five percentage points among Americans since 2016. Despite this, majorities still hold faith in each, ranging from 74% believing in God to 58% for the devil and 59% for hell. The latest Gallup poll conducted from May 1-24, 2023, reveals that belief in these spiritual entities is at its lowest point since the tracking began in 2001.

Key Points:

• God is believed in by 74%, angels by 69%, heaven by 67%, hell by 59%, and the devil by 58%.
• Almost 30% do not believe in hell or the devil.
• Strongest belief observed among regular church attendees, Protestants, and Republicans.

 

Comparing the data with 2001, the steepest declines are observed in belief in God and heaven, each down by 16 points. Hell has seen a 12-point drop, while belief in the devil and angels is down by 10 points each. Respondents were asked if they believe in each concept, are unsure, or do not believe, with 13% to 15% currently expressing uncertainty. Notably, nearly 30% of U.S. adults do not believe in the devil or hell, while almost 20% do not believe in angels and heaven, and 12% do not believe in God.

The shift over the past two decades has seen a decrease in belief and an increase in nonbelief, particularly for God. In the current poll, 51% of Americans believe in all five entities, while 11% do not believe in any. Additionally, 7% are unsure about all, leaving 31% believing in some and not others.

Belief in these entities varies across demographic groups. Frequent churchgoers, Protestants, and Republicans exhibit the highest belief levels. Protestants, in general, are more likely than Catholics to believe in each entity, with the differences more pronounced on heaven, hell, and the devil. Those without religious affiliation express more nonbelief, with fewer than 25% believing in any spiritual concept.

Belief is also linked to attendance at religious services, political affiliation, income, age, and gender. Republicans, higher-income groups, adults aged 55 and older, and women are more likely to believe in these entities. The findings underscore the correlation between religious practices, political affiliations, and belief in spiritual concepts.

In conclusion, Gallup’s data illustrates a decline in belief in religious entities since 2001, aligning with broader trends in reduced church attendance and waning confidence in organized religion. However, belief remains a majority stance, particularly among regular churchgoers, Protestants, and Republicans, emphasizing the enduring nature of faith among certain demographics.